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Marine Log

May 21, 2007

Mandatory ECDIS could cut groundings by one-third

Making Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) mandatory on board ships would cut the number of groundings by a third, indicates to a study carried out by DNV.

Though the effectiveness of ECDIS has been documented in previous studies, there have been doubts about the coverage of the electronic nautical charts on which ECDIS performance depends.

In preparation for the next meeting of IMO's committee on Safety of Navigation, DNV's researchers were asked by Denmark, Finland Norway and Sweden to assess the adequacy of the electronic nautical chart coverage.

The main finding of the DNV study is that the coverage of electronic charts in coastal waters is already very good and improving:

The global coverage of suitable electronic navigational charts in coastal areas currently lies between 84% and 96% and is expected to increase to 8798% within a few years.

The coverage of suitable electronic navigational charts along selected routes considered representative of worldwide shipping varies between a minimum of 28% and a maximum of 100%.

36% of the selected representative routes already have 100% coverage in coastal areas.

For five of the seven routes currently without 100% coverage, an increase in coverage is planned for the near future.

For many ship types, collision is the dominant risk, while grounding is second. In a previous study DNV has documented that ECDIS is a preventive measure, reducing the probability of grounding by well above one third when electronic nautical charts are available.

The motivation for the current study has been to address the common industry perception that the lack of global electronic nautical chart coverage is diluting ECDIS's risk reducing potential. This perception is considered one of the major obstacles faced by advocates of a mandatory ECDIS carriage requirement.

"These results support that an Electronic Chart Display and Information System should be implemented as a mandatory requirement for most ships," comments DNV's CEO Henrik O. Madsen. "Besides, the more ships that install such equipment, the more electronic charts are likely to be produced."